Suicide bomber strikes at funeral in Pakistan, kills 30

At least 30 people were killed and over 60 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up among mourners at an anti-Taliban tribal elder’s funeral in Pakistan’s north western Lower Dir district on Thursday. Officials said it was a reprisal attack as the residents had raised militias against the Taliban after Pakistan army’s operations in the area recently.

No group has claimed the responsibility for the attack but Taliban have attacked funerals of tribal leaders opposed to them earlier as well. At least 27 people were killed when a bomber struck a cleric’s funeral gunned down just days earlier in Dera Ismail Khan in February 2009. A similar attack on a police officer’s funeral killed 49 people later that year in Swat.

“The explosion took place when people were offering funeral prayers,” senior police officer said. He feared that the toll could rise as many injured were critical. The attack is the latest in a series of Taliban strikes against pro-government tribes. Five schoolkids were killed when gunmen fired a school bus on Tuesday. The dreaded militia claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the bus was targeted for carrying kids belonging to a pro-government tribe that had raised a volunteer force against it.

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Dark Secret: Chocolate is as good as exercise

It is in the news that chocoholics have been waiting for: Chocolate is as good as exercise, a new study has claimed. Scientists at Wayne State University in the US found that small amounts of dark chocolate may improve health in a similar way to exercise. The researchers who focused on the mitochondria – the tiny powerhouse in cells that generate energy – discovered that a plant compound found in chocolate, called epicatechin, appeared to stimulate the same muscle response as vigorous activity, the Daily Telegraph reported.

“Mitochondria produce energy which is used by the cells in the body. More mitochondria mean more energy,” said Dr Moh Malek, who led the research on mice. “Aerobic exercise is known to increase the number of mitochondria in muscle cells,” Malek said. “Our study has found that epicatechin seems to bring about the same response.”

For their study the researchers gave a specific type of epicatechin from cocoa to the laboratory mice twice a day for 15 days. At the same time, the animals underwent 30 minutes of treadmill training each day. It was found that mice only fed epicatechin had the same exercise performance as those running on the treadmill.

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